Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n°159

Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 24 marzo 2019

MEPs endorsed on Thursday the position of the Civil Liberties Committee to triple the funds allocated in the long-term EU budget (2021-2027) for the Rights and Values Programme, up to 1.834 billion euros (the European Commission had proposed €642 million). Parliament’s mandate to start negotiations with EU ministers was approved with 426 votes to 152 and 45 abstentions. With a general objective to protect and promote the rights and values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level, the Programme seeks to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence.MEPs decided to specifically mention the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law as the main aim, as these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union, says the text.Regarding the activities to be funded with EU money, Parliament suggests awareness-raising campaigns on European core values and the rights and obligations derived from EU citizenship. Initiatives to reflect on the factors that lead to totalitarian regimes occurring and to commemorate their victims were also suggested. MEPs also want to support town-twinning projects, human rights defenders and whistle-blowers, measures countering hate-speech and misinformation, and protection of victims of violence, among others.
MEPs agreed that, in exceptional cases, when there is a serious and rapid deterioration of the situation in a member state and the founding values are at risk, the European Commission may open a call for proposals, under a fast-track procedure, to fund civil society organisations to facilitate and support the democratic dialogue in the country.
Protection of democracy and fundamental rights, with a focus on gender equality
Civil Liberties MEPs backed on Thursday – with 31 votes to 3 and 3 abstentions – the partial agreement reached with the Council of the EU on the Rights and Values Programme for the next budgetary period (2021-2027). Both institutions agreed to rename it Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme and that its purpose should be “to nurture and sustain a rights-based, equal, open, pluralist, inclusive and democratic society”.
The Programme will continue seeking to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence, through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level.At the initiative of the EP, the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law will be specifically mentioned as the main aim, given that these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union.MEPs managed to include, among the initiatives to be funded, remembrance activities on Europe’s historical memory, that allow to reflect on the causes of totalitarian regimes, in particular Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism and other communist regimes, as well as commemoration of their victims. Other actions that may receive support are town-twinning projects and those meant for the protection of victims of violence, particularly women and girls.
The promotion of gender equality, including the fight against gender-based violence and active support to women’s rights organisations, will be a central element of the Programme. The text notes that tackling stereotypes and promoting equal access to work and the elimination of barriers to career progression are key. It points in this regard that focus should be put on work-life balance and on equal sharing of unpaid household and care work between men and women.
The budgetary allocation for this Programme will be determined once there is a final agreement on the full texts for the next EU budget for 2021-2027. Negotiations will have to be carried out by the next European Parliament, on the basis of this partial agreement and the mandate adopted by plenary last January, which called for a significant increase of its financial envelope, up to €1.834 billion euros (instead of the €642 million proposed by the Commission).

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